My Awesomely Random Life (and Everything in Between)

Posts tagged ‘Ponderings’

I Do…But Not Quite Yet

Dress? Check. Flower bouquets? Check. Chicken dance? Check. Cake? Double (chocolate) check.

All of these things can only mean one thing: It’s wedding season my friends.

It seems as though this has been the summer of weddings for me. It has been a little over 8 years since I’ve received an RSVP invitation dressed in lace, asking if I want the chicken or the fish, but this year, I’ve been hit with one after the next after the next. It’s funny how that usually happens. Not only have I attended many a wedding this year, but I have also gotten news of friends who have become engaged and are starting to plan for their ‘big day’. I couldn’t be more happy and excited for everyone who is about to embark on such a wonderful and exciting new chapter in their lives. 

I love wedding season (and not just because of all of the free consumable cake that is available). I love the feeling of love in the air, the happiness, the vows and the promises. I love  the way the groom looks when he sees his bride walk down the aisle towards him for the first time. I love the way the father looks as he gives away his baby girl for the last time. Call me a hopeless romantic, but in an age when the survival rates for marriage are at an all-time low, I still want to believe in the happy ending, the fairy tale, the ever-after. I want to believe that after 60 years, a husband and wife will still look at each other with that same spark and passion they first had oh so many years ago, just two best friends who shared (and are sharing) an amazing love and life together.

All of this talk of marriage and love got me to think about a lot of things about my own life.  Now that sooo many friends of mine (most of which I have known since our days on the playground) are getting ready to or already have walked down the aisle, I am beginning to feel kind of old. In the grand scheme of things, 24 is still quite young for sure; I don’t feel that old (and most definitely don’t look that old, seeing as I was carded just the other night at the theater when I went to see an ‘R’ rated movie–if I had a dollar for every time that happened…).  I always  laughed at my parents and grandparents when they would tell me to enjoy my youth because the older you get, the faster time passes. I didn’t understand what they meant until now; I can’t help but feel the years just slipping by on me, a day here, a month there.  I sometimes worry that if I don’t hit pause on the proverbial remote control of life every once in a while, I will miss out on some of the most important experiences that can happen in a person’s life. It made me realize that yes, my job and career are important, but there is SO much more to life than that, so much more.

I know it’s not fair for me to compare myself to others, after all, everyone’s life course has many different roads and paths, each uniquely and specially carved for them, but sometimes I can’t help but look at my life and those of my friends who are about to start this next chapter in their lives and wonder if maybe I am missing out on something, if maybe I am not doing something right or ‘normal’. I know for a fact that marriage for  me right  now would be way too soon; I still have so much to learn about myself, things to do and see and experience, before taking that next big step. Even though I am a bit jealous that they have found ‘the one’, that the days of bad dates and even worse blind dates are over, that they will come home to someone to walk the dog and go to Brewers games with, that they have their best friend at their side after suffering through an “Office Space” kind of day, I still am having too much fun being on my own and single in the city. I am no Carrie Bradshaw by any means fashion is simply not a word that exhists in my vocab), but I am enjoying my independence just as she did in the big NYC.  I like knowing that the next time I am in the Starbucks or at the beach, I might just meet my Mr. Big. Or not. But it’s the freedom and thrill of now knowing which makes it exciting.

I have most certainly loved  before, but I am not sure if I have ever been in love; to have that feeling of constant butterflies in your stomach, to wake up and go to bed with the first and last thing on your mind being that special person, to feel comfortable enough to share anything with (including that award-winning belch you let go right after downing a Coke and pepperoni pizza). I look forward to the day, whenever that may be, and whoever that may be with, when I too will be able to do those things.

I guess what I have come to realize is that though many of my friends are starting the next chapter of their lives (which is great), I still have a lot more to write in my current one.   I want to make sure that this is the best book ever written, every detail and experience and event included, which may involve some serious description and page-writting. There may be a few broken hearts along the road, but you know what, those are the things that make life interesting, that help you to learn and grow and which make you a stronger person in the end. It’s all a part of growing up, which at 24, I am doing.

So bad dates? Bring ’em on!

Fun afternoons kicking back with friends (even though I might be the third wheel) at the park? Count me in!

Doing and trying new things, whether I am alone or with someone, just…because? Sign me up!

Afterall, I have got some serious writing to do!

P.S. Congratulations to Brandon and Amanada Black who I was lucky enough to see become husband and wife this past weekend and a future congrats to Ben and Chelsie Tilkens who are doing the very same this upoming weekend! I am sooooo happy for both of these amazing couples, wishing a lifetime of love, laughter and happiness 🙂

Take it away Train 🙂

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghZt2cILcCU

Question of the day: Are there certain times or moments in your life which make you question where you are  heading?

Fate: Fact or Fluff?

I recently saw a great movie called The Adjustment Bureau, starring one of my favorite actors of all time, Mr. Matt Damon (he had me at ‘Goodwill Hunting’). The film basically revolves around the concept of Fate vs. Free-Will. In the movie, the main character David Norris (Matty D.) gets a glimpse of his future and finds he wants something else for himself.  A noted politician, Norris is gunning for a seat in the U.S. Senate when he meets a beautiful dancer Elise (played by Emily Blunt), a women unlike any that he has known before. Just when he realizes he’s falling for her, a group of mysterious men known as The Adjustment Bureau who work for ‘Fate’ itself  conspire to do everything they can to keep David and Elise apart. In the midst of overwhelming odds, David has to decide whether to let Elise go and accept a pre-determined path, or risk everything to defy ‘Fate’ and be with the one he loves. It was an amazing movie, not only in terms of the actors and yes, the thrilling and romantic aspects of it that kept me on my toes wanting more, but it was the overall concept of the film that peaked my interest and really made me think.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZJ0TP4nTaE

Is there such a thing as Fate? Does the Universe “know” how our lives will turn out… before they even begin? Do we all have a destiny that is set in stone? Or do our choices impact what happens, even if we have a certain amount of destiny built into our life lines from the get-go?

 If you are anything like most people, the idea of fate or destiny  is a pretty hard concept to wrap our brains around.

 

One could argue that if we accept that some people CAN in fact predict the future, or see things that have NOT yet happened but do, there is unquestionably some pre-determination in the world… PERIOD.  And to deny that people have been making predictions that HAVE in fact come true for thousands of years would be to ignore human history… and of course, even your own experience.

For example: Have you ever thought of someone you haven’t heard from in a very long time… minutes before they called, or emailed you, or you bumped into them on the street? Or have you ever had a weird vision of something that has YET to happen… and yet, somewhere in your gut you know it will. (and then it DOES?)

These things, when they happen in a way that you simply KNOW was not luck, or chance or coincidence, simply can’t be explained. It would seem as if this is proof that ‘Fate’ took the wheel and did the steering, yet I am still not sure I would say that some sort of destiny or “fixed future” was at play.

Some people believe much of our life is “written” well in advance, and we are simply actors on a stage, living out the scripts that some greater mind created for us long ago. Another film adaptation that explains this very phenomena is ‘The Truman Show’ (it seems that there are quite a few movies that deal with this topic, not that  I think about  it). The whole premise is focused on Jim Carrey’s character who struggles with the ‘Fate factor’ after he finds out that his life is just like a movie, that he is just an actor. When he finally tries to go the improv route if you will, to break free from the script, he finds that he is better off being the director of his own life. I was 11 when I first saw this flick and I have got to say, it kind of freaked the beans out of me. Whenever I looked into the mirror or television set, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was being filmed by Ed Harris. Thankfully I wasn’t, although I will say, it would be kind of cool to be ‘cast’ in my own rom-com or action-thriller every now and then to spice things up…just so long as I stay away from the horror flicks! I can barely watch a scary movie let a lone live in one. Eek!

Playing the opposition to the belief that ‘Fate’ is very real, others think that any talk about destiny or fate or karma is silly, and is completely foolish. So…which is true? And why does it even matter?

To help better illustrate these arguments, it’s a good idea to take a deeper look at the meaning behind ‘Fate’. There are basically three major concepts:

 In the first concept, ‘Fate’ means a predetermined or pre-existing line of time to a particular point. Was I meant to have that second burrito? Did you mean to slip walking UP the steps this morning? If so then ‘Fate’ is everywhere. We were meant to be where we are now, doing what we do and experiencing what we experience because ‘Fate’ says so. Fate determines our future with this concept; fighting will only bring you back to the same ‘Fate’ anyways.

In the second concept, ‘Fate’ is a part of life, but we are in control partly to how it is played out. For example, ‘Fate’ tells us we will marry, but to who is our choice. Or ‘Fate’ tells us we will be Oprah-rich one day, but how the wealth is created is up to us. This concept differs from concept one in that ‘Fate’ gives us a guide, but is not the absolute truth.

In the third concept, ‘Fate’ is controlled by the individual and determined by what you do in your life and conditioning. In this concept, ‘Fate’ is bound by your decisions and your decisions alone; you determine your own ‘Fate’ in a way.

These concepts got me spinning even more, leading to further questions…

1. First of all if ‘Fate’ is Real, then to what degree is ”Fate’ controlling us..?

2. If we control our own ‘Fate’, then why do similar familiar patterns seem to appear in our lives?

3. If everything is ‘Fate’ then does that mean we are less in control of our lives than we think?

4. Is ‘Fate’ a word to make us feel better in bad parts of our lives?

5. Is ‘Fate’ merely a description to enhance the good parts of our lives?  (It was ‘Fate’ that I met you)

Whoofta! I don’t know about you but I am tuckered out just thinking about all of these concepts.

I don’t have any answers to these questions; I am not quite sure what I think about ‘Fate’ and whether or not it exists (and if it does, to what extent). If I were to pick a concept of ‘Fate’ that felt the most true, I think it would be the second one, that we work together with ‘Fate’ to decide our future. I also believe that God does have a plan for everyone, that he and only he knows what our life will turn out to be like. We each come in to this life to learn, to grow, to succeed and to fail, and as such, we have choice!  But, there are things we’ve chosen to experience, and to learn from, that are also built into the fabric of our lives. I guess the ‘Fate’ or destiny we create is what we do when those choices present themselves.

Nothing is set in stone. We each have free choice. That is the beauty of being alive. I am choosing to share this information with you right now. You are choosing to read it.

There may be a certain amount of karma, or ‘Fate’ and destiny behind both of those decisions.

But – it’s what we ACTUALLY do with the information, the lessons and the learning… that is the important part, and what ultimately defines and decides our futures!

P.S. I think that ‘Fate’ or destiny have it in their cards for me to go to Kopp’s tonight to get that double scoop of Cookie Dough frozen custard…and since I have decided that ‘Fate’ and myself both play a part in what happens both now and in my future, I am NOT going to disagree with that 🙂 

Question of the day: Do you believe in ‘Fate’?

 

Oh NO She Didn’t!

Actually, it’s more of a Oh NO she didn’t she didn’t!

I like to think of myself, for the most part, a very easy-going gal. I really am not a fan of confrontation, usually doing anything to avoid it at all costs. I never get angry or like to criticize people and I always try to give people the benefit of the doubt. There are some things, and instances , and times, and people however, that really get my skivies in a twist.

Last night happened to be such an occurrence.

After a long day at work, I decided to treat myself to some delic-i-oso Panera Bread for dinner. There aren’t too many restaurants that get my mouth-watering from the instant it’s mentioned, and Panera happens to be one of them. I had received a $5 coupon from work a couple of weeks ago to Panera and was so excited to use it! It had been burning a hole in my wallet for some time now and I decided that tonight was the night to extinguish that flame. All day long at work, visions of Panera Plum fairies danced in my head.

Editing photos and graphics, I was taking the very first bite of my sandwich, savoring every morsel of the freshly baked bread-turkey-tomato-crisp lettuce-and sour pickle goodness, not even caring that I just dropped mustard all over my shirt.

Writing up proposals, I smelled the straight from the oven, chocolate-chip cookies that are displayed so elegantly on the pedestals by the front counter. 

As I sat returning emails, I was slurping up the cool and refreshing taste of  my strawberry banana smoothie through a bright pink straw, so fresh in fact, that bits of strawberry seeds were getting stuck in my teeth along the way.

Yes. I was just a little bit excited.

As the clock struck 5 and I headed out the office doors, I had a spring in my step that can only  be described as “Panera Pep”. After having finally arrived at the restaurant, I surveyed the menu board  before me. Talk about tough choices; I would rank this right up there with deciding what new hair doo I should get (which by the way, I have yet to decide…I know, I know I am a wimp. But I promise you will be the first to know when–and if–I do). I really wasn’t feeling my usually go-to “You Pick Two” deal, which consists of a small salad/soup or soup/sammy or sammy/salad. I was really craving  just a big-as-your-head sandwich that I could sink my teeth into.

I walked up to the counter with my coupon, anticipation building with each step I took. As I approached the cashier, I placed my order my sammy du jour: a smoked turkey on 9 grain with lettuce, extra tomato, pickle and mustard (NO MAYO..because really, who likes mayo? Gross.) and a strawberry banana smoothie. I got my ticket-buzzer doohicky thing and walked down the line to wait for my food. I decided to head to the little girls’ room real quick before sitting down to eat. As I was walking out of the stall, I noticed the cashier who had helped me walk in to use the facilities as well. I stood for a moment in front of the mirrors, washing my hands and redoing my ponytail (that darn Milwaukee wind does a number on my hair). I soon heard the toilet flush and saw out of the corner of my eye, the cashier walk out of the stall and the restroom itself. Without. Washing. Her. Hands.

EWWW!!!!

For a moment I thought she would come back in. Perhaps something so simple and basic as washing ones hands after using the bathroom had slipped her mind. It can happen, right? Like I said, I am open to giving people the benefit of the doubt. But no.

This girl had committed the cardinal sin of food service personnel. She didn’t wash her hands.

At least she wasn’t the one handling the food…phew.

Well, I spoke too soon on that wish. As I walked out to where you can see the orders being prepared, I noticed non-hand-washing-cashier-lady was now donning a hair net and gloves and was going to town on my. MY. sandwich. Okay, so she had gloves on, but that was still sooo gross. All I could think of at that moment was the Seinfeld episode where Jerry sees Poppy walk out of the bathroom sans washing his hands, only to return to kneading and preparing Jerry’s very own pizza pie.

I was so lost in my thoughts that when my ticket-buzzer doohicky thing went off in my hands, I jumped. I wearily made my way up to the counter and picked up my tray. Suddenly my sammy didn’t look so good. But, I was too hungry and too excited to let something like this ruin my dinner. And, like I said, she did at least have gloves on.

Finally, I sat down and was about to take that coveted first bite that I had  been thinking about all day long when I noticed three things: First, my sandwich was on a white baguette, not 9 grain like I asked. Not really a big deal. Second, there was not a trace of a tomato anywhere. If they simply forgot to include the ‘extra’  on my sammy, I would have been okay but they totally skimped. There was zilch. Nodda. And third, as I was looking for my tomatoes, I saw globs and globs of nasty, gooey, white MAYO! Now they’ve crossed the line. I can handle most things, but mayo? Blech!

I got my sandwich and walked back up to the counter where I first placed my order. And guess who I see? Yes, non-hand-washing-cashier-lady was back at being a cashier. I just can’t seem to get a way from this girl. SHe seemed nice enough so I told her my predicament and asked if she could give me another sandwich. She looked at me like I was asking for a million dollars. She did finally place the order for my corrected meal, after having given me the third degree on why it was again that I was needing another sandwich (she actually asked me if I was sure I didn’t like mayo and if that was true, to give it “another go”–I felt like asking her if she liked eating worms and if she didn’t, to give those “another go”–okay, I know those things really aren’t comparable but still, I was hungry like the Hulk, you won’t like  me when I get hungry—I go green, shirts tear, it’s a whole ordeal).

After finally having received my sandwich, I sat back and tried to reclaim what was supposed to be a great dinner. And you know what, even though there were a few hiccups, a few under-handwashings, and one messed up sandwich, it was a great dinner. And, you know what, I am still claiming Panera Bread as one of the all-time greatest fast-casual restaurants there is. I just might decide to hit up another location next time is all.

Question of the day: Have you ever been served less-than-stellar customer service while dining out?

Things That Make Me Go ‘Hmm’ V.1

Happy Thursday guys!

The sun finally decided to make a much welcomed appearance today 🙂

But alas,  it is sadly going to be short lived…later on today and all the way through the weekend, the rain and clouds are packing their gloomy bags and moving back in. I’m seriously thinking about investing in a rain poncho–I thought about getting an umbrella but walking around downtown Milwaukee with one is nearly impossible because of the wind. I saw a poor girl just yesterday fighting a battle she was not going to win against an umbrella that kept flipping inside out and all around. I really don’t feel like waging that war–plus, imagine how uber chic I will look strolling down the city streets in my electric-yellow accessory. Cute, right? I’ll look like I just got off the Jurassic Park water ride at Universal Studios. I’m bringing plastic back, baby! But enough about my new fashion venture. Let’s get to the important things…like crazy coupon clipping? 

I would like to introduce you to the very first installment of what I would like to call “Things that make me go ‘hmm'”. Do you ever hear about, see, or do something that makes you stop for a second and literally question what in the world people (or things) are thinking and/or doing? I find myself doing this constantly on a daily basis, maybe because I am naturally curious about the world around me and everything in it, but also maybe because the world around me and everything in it is absolutely bonkers sometimes.

To start off this new segment, I would like to talk to you about crazy coupon clippers (or CCC’s for short). Last night while I was waiting for  my frozen enchilada dinner to heat in the microwave, I aimlessly started to flip through the channels on my tv (the Brewers had played earlier in the day which left my viewing options open for the evening–which by the way, if anyone did not happen to catch the game, they KILLED the poor Phillies, taking the complete game series!). I heard the timer go off on my food, so I dropped the remote, left the channel on where it was, and went to get my 4-star meal ready. When I came back into the living room, a new episode of ‘Extreme Couponing’ was just beginning on TLC. To go off topic here for a second, have you ever watched the programming on TLC? I know it is supposed to stand for The Learning Channel but it should really be called TCC, or The Crazy Channel. It seems like all they show on that network are programs that are (or depict people who are), well, to put it lightly, kind of crazy (Sister Wives, I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant, Little People-Big World, Toddlers and Tiaras, 19 Kids and Counting? I rest my case.) ‘Extrememe Couponing’ most definitley fits into TLC’s programming nicely.

Now may I please preface this by saying that I had every intention of turning the channel. I mean, there was SO much more high-quality TV that I could have been entertained by (Survivor–that’s still on?–, American Idol–that’s still on?–, The Real World–that’s still on?–Gosh, I guess people never get tired of the same old hat when it comes to TV). I did have every intention of turning the channel, I promise, but I became sucked in the minute I started watching this captivating (and by captivating, I mean slightly disturbing) show about crazy coupon clippers.

In a somewhat documentary style, the show tells stories of people who go to extreme lengths and measures to save a buck (or thousand) when shopping. Hard-core couponers are in it to win it — for free, if at all humanly possible. They plot their grocery-store trips with the precision of military commanders. They load up three or four shopping carts at a time. They test the mettle — and the congeniality — of cashiers by having them tally dozens of discounts on their behalf. Whatever you do, do NOT get in line behind this kind of shopper at a checkout line unless you have a week to kill.And what do they get in exchange? Hundreds of dollars’ worth of merchandise for as little as $5 to $10, the applause of onlookers — and a surge of adrenaline that can be downright addicting. Now I use coupons from time to time, especially now that I am living on  my own and have to foot the bill for my own groceries, but I have never and will never go to the unbelievable lengths that the people whose stories were told on this show have done. In many ways, I commend them for being so dedicated and committed to saving money–many started out clipping coupons because they simply needed to in order to survive, having lost a job or a steady means of income. What started out for some as a necessity however, turned into an obsession for most; an obsession that can be really unhealthy. To be an extreme coupon clipper, one must almost devote their entire day, their life to salvaging coupons. Yes you can save hundreds of dollars, but is it worth neglecting your life, your loved ones, your sanity over it?

One woman shared how she and her daughter would spend quality mother-daughter time every weekend dumpster diving for coupons. Dumpster diving! The only thing I might even consider going into garbage for would be Brewers tickets, right behind home plate, first row, close enough that you could feel the wind blow every time the bat was swung. But for coupons?Another lady would walk seven miles every day around her neighborhood, collecting coupons from friends and neighbors. There was also a man featured on the show who had to rearrange his home, garage, vehicle and entire life to make room for the mountains of toilet paper, razors, shampoo, jarred peanuts and canned corn they’re stockpiling. I have heard of shopping in bulk — but this is more like shopping in anticipation of a coming apocalypse. This particular man had a wall in his garage completely devoted to mustard. Personally, I don’t see how anyone could or would ever NEED 400 bottles of mustard. Or diapers for that matter. He wasn’t even married or had any kids, but his whole spare closet was filled to the brim with Huggies…or was it Pampers? I don’t know. All I do know is that he was counting his merchandise eggs before they hatched. I will give it to him though, in all of this madness, he will be prepared if and when the world goes into a panick-stricken depletion of mustard.  And as far as the diapers go, he could possibly use them himself one day, but that Depends (sorry, I couldn’t help myself).

Like I said  before, I commend those who coupon-clip, especially those people who have done so, or are doing so, to support a family or themselves in a time of hardship. In these economic times, you have to be a bit more careful in where and how you spend your dollars. It is important though to not get so focused on money, that you miss out on life around you. Like my mom always said, moderation is key. You can have your chocolate-chip double fudge cookie dough ice cream, but you should also have a veg or two. I guess that same methodology can be applied to coupon clipping as well. Clip if you  must, but make sure that you allow yourself an indulgence every once in a while, whether that be eating out one night at a nice restaurant, going to a movie with friends, purchasing a uber cute pair of jeans or simply buying a can of beans, dare I say  it, full price! Life is too short to sweat the coupons 🙂

Case in point: Does this make me go hmmm? You bet your overflowing grocery cart it does!

Question of the day: Do you coupon?

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